A modder-turned-studio-leader, Paxton was most recognized for his work on the Fall from Heaven mod for the popular Civilizations IV strategy game prior to joining Stardock as lead designer in 2010. Derek joined Stardock after a decade-long career working with Fortune 500 company Novell in the technology sector. Since joining Stardock in 2010, Paxton successfully brought to market the last two titles in the Elemental franchise – both of which earned positive critical receptions from top international games media and fans.
"Derek has really transformed the game studio," said Brad Wardell, President & CEO of Stardock. "His experience at managing multiple projects combined with his amazing design skills has resulted in not just better games but a better working environment for our teams."
As part of the company’s 20th anniversary this October, Paxton and Stardock Entertainment will announce a series of new projects from the studio which will include new titles and more.
"I'm looking forward to the incredible opportunity to lead a studio with a legacy of creating award-winning strategy games," said Paxton. "Games are a passion for everyone who works at Stardock Entertainment and it's an honor to be able to work with such talented developers, artists and designers. I look forward to continuing the tradition of creating incredible games with the amazing team at Stardock."
Stardock has gone through ups and downs, in terms of publicity. What do you think the studio represents to the PC gaming community right now?
DP: I think that Stardock is in a unique position. We’re bigger than you’re typical indie. We’re smaller than a triple-A. We are privately owned. We self-publish everything. We’re not on store shelves. What that allows us to do is to create games that we love and that we’re passionate about. They may be more niche-y. We see lots of games that we could make, and some of them would frankly make more money than the games that we make. But we love the kind of games that we make.
So I feel like we can appeal to an audience that isn’t necessarily getting addressed in the marketplace, by and large. That’s not to say that there’s no other company out there like Stardock. There is. There’s a wide variety. But I like that variety. I know where the business tends to go. You see the games that have $20 million, $50 million budgets. If you’re going to make a game of that size, you have to sell 2 – 5 million copies to break even. If you’re going to sell 2 million or 5 million copies of your game, there are certain things you have to do to appeal to that wide audience.
We make games with more reasonable budgets, and because of that, we don’t have to sell millions of copies. We can sell 200,000 copies of our games, and that means that we don’t have to go for that mainstream appeal. We can create more niche-y games that have more minutiae or details, the kind of games that we love. We fully understand that not everybody loves them, but we do think that there is an audience out there that loves that and is looking for it, and it isn’t necessarily being addressed by some of the bigger releases out there. I don’t think that we shouldn’t have those bigger releases. I play games like that too. I just think we should have a mix. That’s the beauty of the PC community.